Archive | July, 2012

Durian Popcorn

10 Jul

Last week, I was clearing out our cupboards and came across a bag of goodies we got from some mall event. It was full of nostalgic snack foods — nostalgic, that is, for Malaysians. There were a lot of garishly colored tidbits that seemed relatively edible. When I asked Tom if he wanted to take it in to his office (for the kids, of course), his response was, “Is any of this actually food?”

Among these was a bag of something labeled “durian popcorn.” First, it wasn’t popcorn; it was some sort of corn puff, like Kix. Second, it was disgusting. Like spit-it-out disgusting. Now, I am on record as enjoying durian, both in fresh form and as a component of things like donuts and cream puffs. These crunchy monstrosities did not taste like durian, they tasted like sewage. Or maybe putrefying gasoline. I can’t deny that durian has some of these elements, but in somehow a good way. Although I will have to give this to durian popcorn: it’s the foulest thing I’ve put in my mouth in a long time. Unfortunately, in our haste to get this abomination out of the house, I forgot to take a photo. I think there was something innocuous on the package like corn.

To summarize: avoid durian popcorn like the plague it is, and go have some real durian instead.

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“Are They Made With Real Girl Scouts?”

4 Jul

It’s Independence Day in the US, so I thought I would celebrate with a post about a true American institution: Girl Scout cookies. Non-American readers of SOK may not be familiar with the beloved institution that is the Girl Scout cookies, or for that matter, with the Girl Scouts. Inspired by Britain’s Girl Guides, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of America as a way to foster independence and resourcefulness in American girls. A couple of biographies of Low came out last year in honor of the GSA’s ? anniversary, and she sounds like a pretty progressive lady.

At some point the Girl Scouts started selling cookies for fundraising, and these achieved a cult status unmatched by any other fundraising comestible that I know of (except maybe huli huli chicken). I mean, when’s the last time your coworkers got excited about buying candy bars to fund some kid’s band trip? Part of the allure is that the cookies are only available at certain times of the year, and only from a Girl Scout (or someone who has a Girl Scout contact). Recently, though, I’ve noticed a trend in mass-market brands shilling Girl Scout cookie-themed products. First there was Edy’s/Breyer’s ice cream; on my recent trip to the US, I found Girl Scout cookie flavored Crunch bars.
I picked up what are the two most popular cookie flavors, Thin Mints and Samoas, which have been renamed Caramel Coconut due to a copyright issue, and not to appease sensitive Pacific Islanders, as I had previously thought.

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